Carnival Corp.’s cruise lines, along with a majority of the cruise industry, have been on pause since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic in mid-March. But, despite that, the cruise company, which includes Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Cunard, AIDA, Costa, and more, is seeing a bump in interest for 2021.
Carnival on Thursday, reporting its second quarter financial results, announced that it was seeing “growing demand from new bookings for 2021,” despite reduced marketing and selling spend.
The incentives, including the future cruise credits (FCC) and credits that Carnival offered to guests on cancelled sailings, have helped retain some bookings, the company said, but it’s not all rebookings that are driving that growing demand.
According to Carnival, approximately two-thirds of 2021 bookings are new bookings and the remaining are guests using FCCs. And that trend has continued to improve, though it’s still behind the same period for 2019, as Carnival has seen “an improvement in booking volumes for the six weeks ending May 21, 2020 compared to the prior six weeks.”
Carnival also said that while it is still unable to definitively predict when it will return to normal operations, it will do so in a phased manner with enhanced health and safety measures.
“The company expects future capacity to be moderated by the phased re-entry of its ships, the removal of capacity from its fleet and delays in new ship deliveries,” Carnival said in a statement.
“A comprehensive restart protocol may include areas such as medical care, screening, testing, mitigation, and sanitization addressing arrival and departure at cruise terminals, the boarding and disembarkation process, onboard experiences, and shore excursions.”
Carnival is working with federal and state authorities, along with other international authorities including the Italian Coast Guard and others, as it readies for a restart of cruise operations.
At the moment, Carnival’s Cunard Line has cancelled sailings into November, while Holland America and Princess have canceled most sailings through the fall.
Seabourn is scheduled to restart its sailing operation one-ship-at-a-time starting in October with Sojourn after Oct. 13, Encore after Oct. 19, Quest after Nov. 6, and Odyssey after Nov. 20.